DIY Bug Spray

DIY Bug Spray

I’m not a fan of DEET spray given its potential toxic effects, so I created an awesome all natural bug repellent made with witch hazel and key essential oils.  Essential oils have a much better safety profile than chemical insect repellants and all the oils in my recipe below have been backed by science to repel mosquitos, some even more than DEET.

Monkey Meets Squirrel = Brain Food for Fast Mornings

Monkey Meets Squirrel = Brain Food for Fast Mornings

Proper fuel is important for our kids brains in the morning. If they skip breakfast, they often get hungry around 10am and grab for whatever they can find at school...and it’s most often some kind of refined carb concoction of unhealthy junk.

Sometimes mornings are rushed in our house and we are running to get out the door.

Here’s a quick healthy throw together that packs healthy carb, protein, and fat and takes less than a minute to prepare. In our house we call it, Monkey Meets Squirrel.

Sweet Potato Pancakes for Toddlers (and Adults 😉)

Sweet Potato Pancakes for Toddlers (and Adults 😉)

Sweet Potato Pancakes

Young children need healthy fat to grow well. In fact, babies and young toddlers need almost half of their calories from fat, which is critical for brain growth and development. And even older children still need around a third of their calories from a healthy fat source. These Sweet Potato Pancakes are packed with antioxidants and essential nutrients that will supercharge your kids health. On-the-go parents of babies and toddlers often reach for processed, refined-grain snack foods like teething crackers, biscuits, cookies, and cereal (like Cheerios). Unfortunately, these foods offer very little nourishment and in addition to being addictive, they are also inflammatory. A great alternative are whole foods that nourish, like these Sweet Potato Pancakes. You can serve them as a meal or carry them in a to-go container as a great pincer grasp snack food. Little kids love them hot or cold.

Winter Elderberry Tea

Cold and flu season is upon us! What are we to do? One of my favorite natural healers in my medicine cabinet is black elderberry. This dark nutritious berry has been used for centuries to treat colds and congestion and several studies in humans have shown that black elderberries can reduce the severity of influenza. In fact, 4 years ago, the National Institute of Health studied several natural products and found that black elderberry had strong antiviral effects against the flu, as well as respiratory bacterial pathogens.

Today I want to share my recipe for black elderberry tea that I make for my whole family whenever the first signs of illness creep in. Last week, I felt a head cold coming on and I quickly brewed up a large batch of this warming tea that I drank over the course of 3 days. All of the ingredients in this tea are purposeful and super powerful. Ginger’s benefits go far and wide such as reducing inflammation, aiding in digestion, and assisting with cold and flu relief. Its active volatile oils and pungent phenol compounds are what give ginger its power. The lemon and honey of course add flavor, but also provide additional benefits like vitamin C and antibacterial properties.

I hope you give this recipe a try. Grab a blanket, a nice soft pillow, and a cup of this soothing tea. I don’t think you will be disappointed.


3 cups filtered water

2 Tablespoons dried black elderberries

.3-.5 ounces chopped fresh ginger (skin removed)

1-2 small lemon

1-2 teaspoon Manuka honey


Simmer 2 Tbsp elderberries and chopped ginger in 3 cups of water in a covered saucepan for 15 minutes. Remove from burner and let steep covered for 10 minutes more. Pour warm tea through a small strainer into mug. Squeeze lemon juice from 1 small lemon into mug along with honey to taste. Makes about 2 cups. Enjoy! Yum

Variations: Add cinnamon for added flavor and health benefit. You can also steep a variety of different tea bags in the elderberry liquid such as camomile, lemon balm or rooibos.





Delicious and Easy Kale Chickpea Salad

There are many different recipes for kale salad out there but many have bland dressings or to much lemon.  I created this dressing with 5 simple ingredients and then added pecorino Romano cheese and pistachios (a fabulous combination) to round out the flavors and make this salad a home run.  Its lasts in the refrigerator for at least a week, so it serves as a great make ahead meal for guests or for on the go families planning weekly meals.


1 large freshly squeezed lemon (about 2 1/2 T)

1/2 tsp sea salt

3 large garlic cloves, minced

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 bunches organic kale, washed, dried and stems removed (both curly or Locatino kale work well) (about 7-8 ounces after stems removed)

1/2 cup freshly grated pecorino Romano cheese (more or less to taste)

1 tsp dijon mustard

1 15oz can garbanzo beans, drained and washed under cold water

1/2 cup roasted and salted, deshelled pistachios (nutmeats) (more or less to taste)



In a small bowl whisk olive oil, lemon juice, salt, garlic and mustard together until ingredients are combined and happy.  Let marinate at least 6 hours before using. ( I usually make dressing the night before) Wash, dry and roughly cut kale into thin ribbons and place in large bowl.  Pour dressing over kale and massage into all the leaves to get an even coat.  Add garbanzo beans and cheese and toss to combine.  Sprinkle with pistachios and serve.  

*The longer the dressing sits on the kale leaves, the more tender the kale becomes.  I like it best the day after its made but that depends on your taste!  Enjoy!  It's soooo yummy!